Thursday, November 22, 2012

Do The Math...

I've done the math and this is the answer that I've found...

It's the 5% that matters most.

The five percent?  Yes, the five percent.  Our lives, or at least 95% of our lives, are comprised of mundane, difficult, stressful, unrewarding, challenging, soul crushing stuff.  The bulk of your work, unless you're very fortunate, is hard, and can at times be soul crushing.  Parenting is overwhelmingly about paying attention, spending money, teaching lessons, avoiding calamity, forgetting yourself, and with few moments of overt, identifiable reward.  Relationships, tough. Money, stressful. Everything, harder than you were told it might be when you were growing up, but then there's the 5% of all of that living that really rewards us, that really offers us hope.

I found myself telling a friend today about my Rose Bowl experiences, about sweeping pink and purple sunsets, and swaying palm trees and ocean breezes.  I was telling him about San Clemente, and watching the days fade from your hotel on the bluff above the pier.  I told him about my idea of perfection, and he said that he'd likely never make it West since he has a free place to stay in Florida.  It struck me how much he was missing the point, and the experience. For me that hotel on the bluff is the 5% that makes the other 95% more manageable.  Would you survive happily without ever tipping an ice cold Pacifico westward toward the dusk shrouded Channel Islands?  Sure it would.  There'd be no less joy in your life.  Florida's a good place.  You'd never really know what you were missing, but your life would be 5%...less beautiful, less realized, less fulfilled.  You'd be voluntarily sacrificing the 5% of your life that really pays you back for all that effort.

I've realized that I've decided to make sacrifices at times for no reason other than I feel that I should...that I've donated my 5% to the universe over and over again in hopes that I get it back in some kind of karmic payback.  It doesn't work that way.  The universe doesn't give a shit about me...about you either, so pay attention.  If you're forgetting to cultivate the best 5% of your life for fear of neglecting the other 95% you'd better go back and scribble that equation over again.  This time show all of your work.  It might lead you to a different life.

The last thing that we want to do is get accustomed to 5% less laughter, less love, less awe and amazement, less of anything that makes the rest of our loves more meaningful.  It's reading Harry Potter aloud to your children.  It's buying that unconditional gift.  It's going to that playoff game. It's not denying yourself that vacation.  Sure you need to save money, and yes, it's wise to play it safe on occasion, if not most of the time, but not all the time. No, not each and every time.  Sometimes you have throw the calculator away and just guesstimate.  Five percent isn't that hard to figure out.


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